With three weeks to go to the Paris show, new model news is flowing thick and fast as Renault and Mini announced new 'concepts' and Toyota revealed more photos of its redesigned D-series contender.

Renault's "top-of-the-range concept car Ondelios designed for lovers of long-haul travel who set store by comfort and refinement" could be a replacement for the Vel Satis or Espace. Renault said it was its "vision of the high-end crossover, combining a comfortable ride with respect for the environment".

It's 4.8m long, 1.6m high with Cd of just 0.29. Butterfly-type side doors, which, like the roof have  an extensive glazed area swing out and upwards as the sills slide down to facilitate entry/exit.

There are three rows of seats with individual seating for six. The electrically adjustable backs fold into comfortable, 'business-class' positions, while occupants can deploy and retract footrests at will.

Active display skins show driver aid and ride information; a monitor at the base of the windscreen displays the different menus and pictures from the door mirror cameras; three large strip displays provide driving-related information, revs and how the hybridized drivetrain is operating and there is a digital speedometer.

All passengers, including those in the back row, have their own Samsung interactive portable multimedia devices which they can use for sharing data or multiplayer gaming. Speakers are also incorporated into the headrests and a multizone HVAC system enables each passenger to set the temperature to his or her own liking.

A Samsung cell phone also acts as a hands-free door lock and recognises the driver and loads all his or her personal settings.

The hybrid powerplant combines a more powerful 205hp (150kW) version of the 2.0 dCi engine, with two 20kW electric motors at the front and rear. They operate in mild hybrid mode, giving the engine extra boost as required. They also use a brake and boost system, recovering energy during braking then delivering it to the engine to boost acceleration. The front motor also uses fuel-saving stop-start technology.

The electric motor mounted on the rear axle drives the rear wheels when the ESP sensors detect a loss of traction, giving the Ondelios the capability of a 4WD vehicle. The car is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can deliver power of up to 4kW/h.

The car can accelerate to 100km/h in 7.8 seconds driving through a seven-speed, double-clutch gearbox. Fuel consumption is a frugal 4.5 litres/100km and CO2 emissions are 120g/km.

BMW-owned Mini, meanwhile said its new Crossover Concept "is a design study for a fourth variant", and it obviously hints at the Magna Steyr-built Sports Activity Vehicle version promised for 2010. It has four doors, four drive wheels, four single seats and is four metres long.

Having been slated in right-hand-drive markets for the production Clubman's right side-only rear-hinged, rear side door (one Australian politician wanted to ban the car from his shores) Mini has come up with a clever work-around for the Crossover (the fuel filler is in the way on the Clubman).

It has four doors, two on each side, with conventional doors on the right side (front and back), with a third for the (left-hand) driver. The fourth door, for the rear passenger on the (left hand) driver's side, slides back along the outside of the car for convenient access and loading.

This would, of course, work even better if reversed for RHD, but let's not be picky...

The rear loading door has a frameless, retractable window (a la old US station wagons and the Gen 1 Land Rover Freelander) and, when open, swivels to one side to facilitate the loading of long items, such as skis, snowboards and surfboards.

The capacity can be increased even further due to the folding roof cover which extends across the whole length of the roof and there's even a transport case which can be fitted on to the outside of the rear door.

The Crossover concept offers additional capacity and uniquely, the opportunity to personalise the layout of the interior.

The four seats are individual, single seats which can be adjusted forwards and backwards by up to thirteen centimetres in the rear - allowing more legroom.

The front and rear seats are linked visually by the new centre rail - a matt-polished aluminium fastening system which extends from the dashboard to the rear.  A unique fastening system can be used to attach cupholders, storage units and entertainment consoles which can be passed between the front and the rear passengers.

A special collection of dishes and cups was created by Porzellan Manufaktur, Nymphenburg, for the concept's centre rail.

A new display and control console - the centre globe - hosts all major entertainment, telecommunication and navigation functions. This three dimensional globe can be personalised independently by both the driver and passenger as the display is shown in two hemispheres - for example, allowing the passenger to surf the internet whilst the driver follows the navigation.

Operated by a touch-sensitive surface, the globe can also be programmed by a trackball situated on the steering wheel, buttons or slide controls in the lower section of the globe, or even by a keyboard which extends out from the dashboard on the passenger's side.

The globe also hosts the stop/start function, whereby the driver inserts a Keyball into the upper edge to start and switch off the engine.